Additional updates regarding the start of term

Dear Parent/Carer,

I hope that you and your families have enjoyed a good, if somewhat different, Christmas this year.

Further to my letters at the end of the autumn term, I am writing to provide some additional updates following yesterday’s Government announcements.

Change to start of term, January 2021
In light of escalating COVID-19 infection rates, the Government has made the decision to delay the start of face-to-face learning in schools across the country by a further week.

The updated start of term dates are:

Monday 11th January:   Year 11 and 13
Monday 18th January:   All other year groups

Remote learning
We will provide remote learning for all students from Tuesday 5th January. Students will be set work via Show My Homework in accordance with their school timetable and their class teachers will be available online to provide support during the time of the timetabled lesson. Remote learning will continue during the week beginning 11th January for students in Years 7-10 and 12. Mr Cooke will send an additional email with further information about remote learning in due course.

Children of key workers who responded to our survey at the end of term (and a number of vulnerable students identified by school staff) will attend school from Tuesday 5th January. These students will undertake the same tasks as students who are completing their learning at home.

School buses
School buses will operate as normal.

External examinations
There are a small number of external examinations that are due to take place in the first two weeks of term. Students sitting these examinations should attend school on the relevant day. We will contact these students with further information next week.

Mock examinations
Year 11 mock examinations are due to start on Monday 18th January. Unless there are further changes to term dates, the mock examinations will continue to run from this date. The scheduled Art and Photography examinations in the week beginning 11th January will also run as planned. Again, this is subject to no further Government changes.

In-school testing
You may have seen that the Government is also offering schools the opportunity to provide in-school testing. As I stated in my letter before the end of term, Essex Local Authority has advised us not to make any preparations for this until our return to school, when resource implications are clearer. We will be liaising with the Director for Education for Essex next week and we will provide you with more information at that point. Mr Foster will write to you this week with additional information about lateral flow testing.

Positive COVID-19 tests
Please continue to notify us at enquiries@hrs.education if your child tests positive for COVID-19, including the date that their period of self-isolation comes to an end.

Essex County Council Request for Testing School-Returners
Finally, you may have seen a message from Essex County Council suggesting that you need to get your child tested at one of the new mobile testing sites prior to their return to school. You do not need to do this if you live in Uttlesford. This was a decision made when Uttlesford was in Tier 2 and most of Essex was in Tier 4. No additional mobile testing for children was allocated to our district at that time. I have been advised by Essex Local Authority that this social media message can therefore be ignored by you. However, if your child has COVID-19 symptoms, it is vital that they self-isolate and get a test as soon as possible. No child with COVID-19 symptoms should visit the school site.

We are constantly reviewing the guidance from the Government and the Local Authority to ensure that we respond to this evolving situation as quickly as possible. We will continue to update you with key information as it emerges.

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement to colleagues at HRS at this time.

Yours faithfully,

Daniel Gee
Headteacher